Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
– Robert Frost, “The Road Not Taken” (1951)
Robert Frost began publishing poems in his high school bulletin. He graduated co-valedictorian with the woman he was to marry. He briefly attended Dartmouth and Harvard.
While farming in New Hampshire, Robert Frost wrote poetry. He taught at New Hampshire’s Pinkerton Academy, 1906-1911, and New Hampshire Normal School, now Plymouth State University. Robert Frost moved to England in 1912 where he met poets Edward Thomas, T.E. Hulme, and Ezra Pound.
At the start of World War I in 1915, Robert Frost returned to America. He taught at Amherst College, Middlebury College, the University of Michigan and was a Harvard Norton professor. Robert Frost won four Pulitzer prizes and was awarded over 40 honorary degrees.
In the poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Robert Frost reflected on the world’s beginning:
Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
In the poem “Fire and Ice,” Robert Frost reflected on the world’s end:
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Robert Frost wrote in “A Prayer in Spring”:
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.
Robert Frost wrote: “I often say of George Washington that he was one of the few men in the whole history of the world who was not carried away by power.”
The U.S. Senate honored Robert Frost with a resolution and President Dwight Eisenhower invited him to the White House. Robert Frost read a poem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration.
In “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” Robert Frost wrote
Whose woods these are I think I know
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He give his harness bell a shake
To ask if there is some mistake,
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost was a consultant to the Library of Congress and received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960. In 1961, the Vermont’s State Legislature named Robert Frost “Poet laureate of Vermont.”
Robert Frost died Jan. 29, 1963.
In a 1956 interview on station WQED, Pittsburgh, Robert Frost stated “Ultimately, this is what you go before God for: You’ve had bad luck and good luck and all you really want in the end is mercy.”
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